Successfully reported this slideshow.
We use your LinkedIn profile and activity data to personalize ads and to show you more relevant ads. You can change your ad preferences anytime.

Understanding the Catalan Conflict from a Spanish Constitutional Perspective

685 views

Published on

This is a draft presentation I am preparing for a lecture on the Catalan independentism challenge of September and October 2017, and how to assess it under the Spanish constitutional framework.

Published in: Law
  • Be the first to comment

Understanding the Catalan Conflict from a Spanish Constitutional Perspective

  1. 1. Understanding the Catalan Conflict from a Spanish Constitutional Perspective Dr Albert Sanchez-Graells 30 October 2017 (draft as of 21 Oct 2017) Bristol Student Law Conference Lecture Series
  2. 2. Agenda • To provide an overview of the Spanish constitutional framework applicable to the Catalan conflict • To place the events of Sept-Oct 2017 in that framework • To debunk some myths and “sloganeering populism”
  3. 3. The general model
  4. 4. Spanish constitutional framework—basics I Spanish Constitution of 1978 (largely unreformed since) See G Padró i Miquel, ‘The historical roots of the Catalan crisis: How we got to where we are’, LSEEUROPP Blog, 19 Oct 2017, http://bit.ly/2yzUjjo
  5. 5. Spanish constitutional framework—basics IIOne people, one nation, one territory -> indissoluble unity BUT, several nationalities and strong devolution to regions, subject to solidarity Co-official languages (where used)
  6. 6. Spanish constitutional framework—basics IIISpain is divided in 17 Autonomous Communities (AACC) + 2 Aut. Cities • Statutes of Autonomy • The Constitution foresees a competence split between central and autonomous governments, which is tailored to each region by its Statute of Autonomy
  7. 7. Spanish constitutional framework—basics IV Arts 148 and 149 SC1978 establish three types of competences • Exclusive of the State • Susceptible of adoption by AACC • Residual rules Constitutional Court rules on conflicts
  8. 8. Spanish constitutional framework—basics V Commonly understood as ‘suspension of Autonomy’ Untested – both as to scope and enforcement No end-point, other than implicit restoration of the AC’s compliance with the Constitution and other laws
  9. 9. Current autonomy of Catalonia within the model
  10. 10. How does reality reflect the model? The system is dynamic and there have been significant transfers of competence from the State to the AACC over time • Catalonia started out with 89 competences in 1978 and by 2010, it had acquired a total of 274* • Current competential status: 276 [further detail in Catalan SoA] * Marcos, Santaló & Sanchez-Graells, ‘Measuring regulatory intensity by the Spanish Regions (1978- 2009)’ (2010) 4 InDret.
  11. 11. So how self- governed is Catalonia, then? (I)Maximum level of decision-making Second-to-highest level of competences Infograph by El País, based on L Hooghe et al, Measuring Regional Authority: A Postfunctionalist Theory of Governance (Oxford, OUP, 2016)
  12. 12. So how self- governed is Catalonia, then? (II)Maximum level of legislative power Maximum level of executive power Infograph by El País, based on L Hooghe et al, Measuring Regional Authority: A Postfunctionalist Theory of Governance (Oxford, OUP, 2016)
  13. 13. So how self- governed is Catalonia, then? (III)High level of taxation powers Moderate level of indebtedness power Infograph by El País, based on L Hooghe et al, Measuring Regional Authority: A Postfunctionalist Theory of Governance (Oxford, OUP, 2016)
  14. 14. So how self-governed is Catalonia, then? (IV)The number of civil servants and public sector employees clearly reflects the level of self-government Infograph by El País, based on the information in the central human resources register of the Spanish Ministry of Finance
  15. 15. A long(ish) view on current events
  16. 16. When did things start to heat up? 2006 New Statute of Autonomy – Subject to referendum • 2.594.167 [48.95 turnout] • 73.2% yes [35.7% census/ 27%population] 2006 Constitutional challenge of the new SoA 2010 Shaving by the Constitutional Court 2010 (planned) Catalan regional elections 2012 (early) Catalan regional elections
  17. 17. ‘Moderate’ Independentism? 2013 Decl. of Sovereignty & right to decide 2013 Via Catalana (Catalan Way) 2014 1st Illegal Catalan referendum (9N) • 2,305,290 [41.6% turnout] • 80% yes [33% census/ 30% population] 2015 (early) Catalan regional elections
  18. 18. What happened in the last two months? 2017 ‘Disconnection laws’ • 6/9 Self-determination referendum act • 7-8/9 Legal transition and foundation of the [Catalan] Republic Act 2017 2nd Illegal Catalan referendum (1O) • 2,286,217 [43% turnout] • Claim of 770,000 votes lost • 92% yes [38% census / 27% population]
  19. 19. The referendum itself Ugly, brutal police violence scenes However • Major issues with reporting by the Catalan Government itself (http://bit.ly/2gqWqgQ) • Even bigger issues with social media and fake news (eg use of old pics; http://bit.ly/2gdSOPN) • Mobs against the police in their accommodation and escraches to politicians not widely reported Source: Avui, http://bit.ly/2xV9R4a
  20. 20. What (else) happened in the last two months?3O General strike to reject violent police activity in the clamp-down of the vote 7O #parlem #hablamos 8O Anti-independentism rally 17O Protest against the judicial decision to send Sanchez and Cuixart to prison
  21. 21. In the meantime, away from the streets 10O Declaration of Pres Puigdemont in Catalan Parliament – Immediate suspension 11O Pres Rajoy demands clarification 16O Puigdemont does not clarify position 18O Rajoy offers exit via regional elections 19O Puigdemont does not provide any further clarification – threatens Parliamentary vote 19O Central Government activates Art 155 SC1978 21O Extraordinary Council of Ministers meeting 27O Senate to greenlight Art 155 intervention
  22. 22. Measures proposed to Senate for vote (27O?) Autonomy not suspended, measures include • Replacing Catalan government • Subjecting Catalan administration to direct ruling by Spanish central powers • Catalan Parliament to continue operating, subject to direct ruling from Senate concerning new Catalan government • Potential regional elections within 6 months
  23. 23. Does the constitutional framework help us make sense of this mess? Why the Central Government act the way it did? Why did the Catalan Government act the way it did? Why did the King act the way he did?
  24. 24. Criminal law ramifications
  25. 25. Criminal law ramifications Why are there so many (so few) criminal investigations going on? How are these criminal cases affecting political developments?
  26. 26. 9N (2014) 24 months due to aggravated disobedience coupled with illegal expenditure of public funds (€5.2mn), currently being dealt with by the Spanish Court of Auditors
  27. 27. Now, what? Everybody’s guess
  28. 28. Now, what? Quo vadis Article 155 SC1978? • New regional elections to be called by April 2018 at the latest (subject to Senate approval of measures) Push, push, push … to force international mediation? Any place for an Independent Catalonia in the EU and in the wider world? (cfr Fischer, ‘Europe’s Attackers From Within’, Project Syndicate, 17 Oct 2017, http://bit.ly/2xV41j1; and Weller, ‘Secession and Self- determination in Western Europe: The Case of Catalonia’, EJIL:Talk!, 18 Oct 2017 http://bit.ly/2gsfcIC)
  29. 29. Q&A

×